Rainforest Alliance introduces Community Listening Program to address issues at cocoa farming communities.

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Rainforest Alliance has taken a judicious step by introducing the Community Listening Program (CLP) in the Western North Region of Ghana to help address challenges hampering the cocoa and forestry sectors in the country.

The program was launched in Sefwi Datano and will be implemented in areas where RA operates in the country.

The Country Director of Rainforest Alliance Ghana, Mr. Kwame Osei said the objective of the program is to get the inputs and feedback more systematically from those at the center of their mission.

He explained that the work of the Rainforest Alliance is to cultivate rural prosperity, bring real, measurable benefits for farmers, forest communities, and indigenous peoples around the world.

Mr. Osei said RA works with millions of farmers and forest communities all over the world to promote sustainable and climate-smart practices to improve livelihoods, both of which are critical to building farm and farmers’ resilience, reducing deforestation, and increasing biodiversity.

“We work with forest community members, smallholder farmers, farmworkers, and farm owners to ensure Rainforest Alliance programs reflect their needs and interest on an ongoing basis,” he said.

Chief Programme Officer, Rainforest Alliance, Ria Stout explained that the program will enable them to receive honest and open feedback at the community level in the local language.

She added that this initiative will allow the Rainforest Alliance and its partners to get to the core issues of the farmer.

“Farmers issues are on my heart and I believe that sustainable agriculture, and targeted set of innovations, and the Farm Requirements can help farmers produce better crops, adapt to climate change, increase their productivity, set goals to achieve their sustainability performance, and target investments to address their greatest risks” she pointed out.

The Senior Director Africa for Rainforest Alliance, Rene Magermans indicated that they are introducing this program because it is an essential tool to support sustainable agricultural production and protect the forest.

“Through dialogue with farming and forest communities, we will distill and analyze their feedback on the effectiveness of our mission delivery and incorporate it into all aspects of our work” he indicated.

The Divisional Chief of Sefwi Wiawso Traditional Council and Patron of the Landscape Management Boards (LMBs), Nana Kofi Nkuah II speaking on behalf of the farmers revealed that programs implemented by the Rainforest Alliance have helped reduce rural poverty in the area.

He used the opportunity to thank the Rainforest Alliance for helping build an alliance to protect forests, improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities, promote their human rights, and help them mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.

“In the area of restoration and preservation of forests and biodiversity, I am very happy that Rainforest Alliance together with its partners and communities raised and distributed over 200,000 tree seedlings from 2018 to 2021.

These seedlings have been planted on fallow lands and agroforestry systems covering an area of over 1,500 hectares.

In addition, four community nurseries have been established in the Sui landscape, and managed by the Landscape Management Boards (LMBs) to supply tree seedlings as a means of contributing to the mitigation of climate change and restoring degraded landscapes” he said.

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